A favorite past time of mine is sitting at a café visiting with a good friend while sipping on a creamy cappuccino or a refreshing iced tea. I cherish quality time spent sharing soul-feeding stories about life experiences, observations, and insights; what the Hawaiians refer to as Talk Story—“to chat informally” or “to shoot the breeze.”
During the year-and-a-half of strict Covid regulations, access to lengthy café time was, for a while, non-existent. As much as I appreciated the take-out-order option local coffee houses implemented—in order to remain open durning the uncertain times of the pandemic—I was missing two key ingredient in the café experience; the café and the communing. Globally, locally, and personally we had to find alternate avenues for social-distance communing and different vehicles for virtual interactions.
FaceTime had already become a “thing” long before it became a necessity, and Zoom launched us into the virtual classroom—both requiring we develop and adapt a new way of managing our lives. With in-person interactions being off limits, we had to get creative about how we nurture our need for communing. The transition took some time with a lot of trial and error, however, it wasn’t that long before we began settling into the new version of social interaction.
For myself, I was “forced” to join the Twenty-First century when transitioning my in-person courses to an on-line classroom was no longer avoidable. Because my work and style of facilitating are profoundly and energetically informed by interacting with clients, I had, up until now, resisted doing courses and private-client sessions on-line. The pandemic challenged me to consider otherwise, get over my resistance, and get creative.
Once I found my footing with establishing a virtual classroom, and facilitating a computer screen resembling the opening Brady Bunch family reunion, I was able to settle into the possibilities of a new class experience. I actually found myself getting excited about the distinctions between the in-person and on-line class dynamic—for one thing, I could see everyone’s faces as there was no front row /back row seating. Also, everyone could sit comfortably in their favorite chair at home and, as long as we remembered not to stand up directly in front of the computer screen, we only had to dress class-appropriate from the waist up.
There were a lot of glitches and a lot of laughter as we learned our way through managing bandwidth, the art of muting, the craft of good lighting, and getting used to seeing ourselves on our computer screen looking back at us in real-time. Unless we’re a dancer used to working in front of a mirror all day, most of us have never had access to seeing ourselves in action until Zoom and FaceTime became an integral part of socializing.
This was all so different from sitting in a café, sipping on a favorite beverage, taking in the ambiance, while enjoying a stimulating visit with an old friend or someone we’ve just recently met. And yet, as distinct as the settings are, the soul-feeding aspect and the fulfilling experience of both, is the same—quality time together. Wether in a Zoom Meeting or in a café, or in this case a blog, where we are and what we are doing becomes irrelevant to who we are being while we are visiting. It makes no difference where or when we meet up. How we show up, on the other hand, make all the difference. When we commune heart to heart, and share soul to soul, we celebrate the best of our humanity, and by proxy, the best of our collective humanity.
So, pour yourself a favorite beverage and settle into your favorite chair, welcome to Talk Story Café, a soulful gathering place, where no matter where we go, here we are. And, wherever we are…here we go.